HC Deb 13 July 1933 vol 280 cc1320-63

I beg to move, in page 10, line 13, at the end, to insert the words: British sea-fishery officer' means any person who is a British sea-fishery officer by virtue of section eleven of the Sea-Fisheries Act, 1883.

This is merely inserting a definition.

Amendment agreed to.

7.26 p.m.

Mr. WOMERSLEY (Lord of the Treasury)

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

I am sure that my hon. Friends in all parts of the House will agree with me when I say that to have the honour of moving the Third Reading of a Bill designed to benefit the great sea-fishing industry is one of which they must envy me, in view of the fact that I represent the largest fishing port in the world. I am especially pleased, because this is the first time that any Government has really recognised that there is such a thing as a fishing industry in this country. It is true that we have from time to time had commissions and committees of inquiry into the conditions ruling in the fishing industry, but nothing has come in the way of legislation. We have to go back to 1883 for any Act of Parliament specially dealing with the sea-fishing industry, but that did not take into account any of the matters affecting the trawling section of the industry but was enacted to deal with the inshore fishermen. Looking back to 1883 and comparing the industry of that day with the industry of to-day, we note that a real revolution has taken place.

There has been no legislation during that period. In spite of the fact that many people say that we should be better in this country without legislation, I suggest that the fishing industry would have been ail the better if legislation had been forthcoming carrying into effect the recommendations made by the committees and commissions to which I have referred.

No Government until the present one has thought it wise or has had the time to introduce a Measure dealing with this great industry, and I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries has had the courage to tackle the problem. There is a reason why Governments of the past have not been too anxious to undertake the work of doing something by legislation on behalf of the sea-fishing industry, and that is that the industry presents peculiar problems, which are in many instances sectional problems. The real point of this Bill to be considered by anyone dealing with the matter is how can legislation be brought into this House and carried into effect that will meet the varying objections of the varying sections of the industry. You have the catching side of the industry, which includes the trawler owners, the inshore fishermen and the men who man the boats. Then you have the merchanting side of the business, including the coastal merchants and the inland merchants, both sections with their own peculiar problems and difficulties. Then we have to consider the retailer, a very important section of the industry, and consideration has to be given to the consumer.

To ensure that a Bill is going to be satisfactory to all these various interests would appear to be an impossible task, but I am glad to say that my right hon. Friend had the courage to tackle the impossible, or what some people thought was an impossibility, and has produced this Measure, which I am glad to say has been received with approval from all parts of the House so far as the general principles underlying it are concerned. Even His Majesty's Opposition have given kind consideration to the main principles underlying the Bill. It is true that we have had little differences of opinion on certain matters. Some hon. Members have thought that we are not going as far as we ought to go in certain directions, but, at any rate, we have had general agreement, and it is indeed a Measure which ought to receive the full approval of the House.

In the explanatory Memorandum the objects of the Bill are set out. They are to regulate the quantity and improve the quality of the supplies of fish coming into the British market, so as to restore prices at the port to a more remunerative level. That is the problem which the Minister had to face. There are many ways in which he might have accomplished part of that object, but it required a carefully thought out Measure to deal with the problem as a whole, bearing in mind those points which I have already mentioned as well as the interests of the public and the consumers, which must be taken into full consideration. And, indeed, the Minister has had to have the interests of the consumers in mind right through the whole of our discussions. The Bill, as hon. Members are no doubt aware, deals with many sides of the industry to bring about that which is desired—namely, that those who go down to the sea in ships should receive a fair remuneration for their work. Although it is true, as the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies) has said, that I am not a fisherman, I have been connected with the fishing industry and worked among these men for the greater part of my life. I have had experience not only of the retail but of the wholesale side of the business, and I know a good deal about the brave and gallant men who man the boats.

I suggest that it was indeed a laudable object of my right hon. and gallant Friend to bring about better conditions for the men who face the dangers of the far North in the winter. Let hon. Members contemplate what it means, right away by the North Cape and in the regions about Greenland in the winter time, along the rocky coast of Iceland and remember that when they land their catch the amount they receive in the case of the skipper and the mate is nothing whatever for their three or four weeks of arduous toil, and in the case of the deck hands and engineers all that they will receive will be their weekly wage. As far as any bonus is concerned, nothing at all. These men, who have been to these regions again and again, settle in the industry in debt, and if the tide turns and they get a good voyage the money is bespoken already. It was time that the Minister came to their rescue; and I am delighted to think that it is my right hon. and gallant Friend who has put all this energy into this work.

The Bill deals with restrictions on foreign supplies. Here again there is general agreement, not in the House but agreement as between the nations concerned and ourselves. I think it is a remarkable achievement for the Government to bring in a Measure imposing restrictions on foreign supplies by agreement with the countries themselves. That is something really remarkable, and should commend itself to the House. We also have restrictions on the landings of our fishermen and foreign fishermen from certain areas at certain times of the year. That has been brought about by agreement between the Department and the industry, and I want to assure the hon. Member for the Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) that the figure of 500,000 cwts. of fish which he mentioned as being taken off the market as a result of the operation of Clause 2 will not work out quite as he imagines, because fishing boats which operate in that part of the sea will go to other parts which are not covered by any embargo, and they will bring in a certain amount of good quality fish which will replace the fish which at that time is not of good quality, most of which never reaches the consumer but is counted as being consumed because it goes to the fish manure works and is consumed in that way. That has been brought about by general agreement. I am convinced that the consumer will not suffer in any way as regards price.

In regard to immature fish, there again the question of the size of the net, the larger mesh, and the embargo on the selling of small fish, has all been arrived at by agreement between the Department and those actually engaged in the industry. As far as the consumers are concerned no tears will be shed by them because they are not allowed to buy what is in many cases nothing but a little bit of skin and bone. We have general agreement there. It is generally recognised that if the Government intends to, and does, confer certain benefits on an industry that industry should be required to do something itself to prove to the Government, who have kindly done this for them, that they are determined to put their own house in order. Already on the strength of the promise of this Bill those engaged in the industry have faith that the Government will be able to command a majority to pass the Bill, and orders have been given for now trawlers of the latest and most up-to-date type, fitted with all the latest scientific instruments, and comforts and conveniences for the crew, which are not to be found on the older boats, That is a sign that those in the industry have faith in the Measure, and they are already beginning to reorganise their own affairs. There is no doubt that this example will be followed by many others in the industry. The Bill spells hope for the industry, it means practical help to those who have put their capital into the industry, and to those who are employed. It is action, not mere promises, and I commend the Bill to the House.

7.38 p.m.


I beg to move, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the words: this House declines to pass a Bill for increasing the profits of the sea-fishing industry by restricting supplies without controlling prices and without safeguarding the conditions and financial interests of the crews, and providing for the equipment of fishing boats with adequate safety appliances as recommended by the Committee of Inquiry. I feel inclined to regret having to move this Amendment after the very lucid speech of the hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley). He quite rightly regards it as a great privilege to be permitted to play the most important part in the last stages of so important a Measure affecting his own constituency. My justification for moving the rejection of the Bill is that I am expected to visit the Grimsby Parliamentary Division within the next seven or eight days to open a baby show. I am, therefore, representing the babies of to-day, the men and women of to-morrow, that is the consuming interests, and I feel justified in moving the rejection of the Bill. Unless the Minister of Agriculture and those responsible for drainage Measures look sharp about their business the chances are that there will be so much water in the Don Valley that we may perhaps catch more fish than are caught and landed at Grimsby. The Labour party has great sympathy with the fishing in- dustry as a whole. There is an affinity between the fishermen who brave the storms and miners who brave the elements down below. We claim for the miner a reasonable wage and a reasonable standard of existence, but so far we have not succeeded in our efforts. We feel that the fisherman is entitled not only to a sense of security but to a reasonable standard of existence after having braved the storms for months on end. The earnings of the crews, in which I am particularly interested, are wholly inconsistent with the life a fisherman is called upon to follow.

What we feel about this Measure is that, like other similar Measures introduced by this Government, it starts at the wrong end. The Government recognises individualism gone mad, in agriculture and in fishing, each trawler company, each owner, striving for himself. Committees have sat and have reported, but Conservative Governments in the past, and Liberal Governments as well, have always felt that individualism is the law of life, it is the fundamental basis of their economic conceptions, and the last thing for either of these parties to do would be to interfere with the individualism that has manifested itself in the fishing industry. This Government and the hon. Member for Grimsby have at long last been made to appreciate, by the force of economic events and I hope by Socialist propaganda, that sane marketing and sane organisation are the only things which will bring permanent prosperity to one of our major industries. I compliment the hon. Member on having achieved so much of the Socialist outlook as to be well on the way to a decent political future.

This Bill proceeds along the line of restricting supplies for the purpose of increasing the price. For a period of three years the Government take no step, apart from Clause 5, to deal with any one of the suggestions and recommendations of the Fishing Industry Committee. That committee dealt with Billingsgate and the interests between the port and Billingsgate and between Billingsgate and the retailers' shops but in this Bill no reference is made to these things, and for three years, apart from a mere examination by the Sea-fish Commission of the restriction of supplies, nothing is undertaken. A low price at the port of course means disaster to the trawler companies, bile's high price in the retail shops may equally mean disaster to the consumer. I am not sure that it is the best method to employ, to relate supplies to the price received by the producer. Far better would it be, I think, to relate retail prices to the ability of the consumer to pay. Only there and then can you maintain that constant demand for the commodity which alone gives any sense of security to the producer. The margin between the producer and the retailer is so well known as not to need reiteration.

What we think the Government might have done is to have accepted one of our Amendments to-day. Let them establish their Sea-fish Commission under Clause 5, and give the commission 12 months in which to investigate the problem of distribution and sale. We understand that there is a good deal of efficiency in catching and landing, although there is still much to be desired. I can visualise that while trawlers act on their own it means disruption to all. If one trawler company has two or three boats in an area where the shoals are very large, it cannot be expected that those boats will wireless the information to their competitors on the high seas and bring them to the shoal. They would prefer to make a good haul for themselves and let the rest of the shoal go by, even if their competitors get back to port with little or no fish at all. That is the sort of thing that might be dealt with, but only when you have a unified system in operation from any port, large or small. That side of the matter perhaps the commission will deal with. We prefer that the first part of their duty should be applied to distribution and sale, for there we think that the producer can be made to receive a far better proportion of the ultimate price paid by the consumer. To that extent we lament the restriction, without any sort of control of price or any effort to deal with price within the three years specified in Clause 1.

We are bound to confess that these restrictions, taken alone, may prove positively dangerous not only to the con sumer but to the producer too, for we have had lots of experience with agriculture. We are afraid that if we encourage trawler owners to believe that their whole future depends on mere restriction and that efficiency in catching, landing or sales does not matter very much, we shall be leading fishermen up the garden as agriculturists have been led in the past. Even though we do not live in Grimsby and have not the privilege of representing Grimsby, we wish to see fishing a prosperous industry. We know there has been a rise in the consumption of fish from 1921, and we would like to see it maintained. We would like to see the producer prosperous and the consumer consuming more fish at a reasonable price, and anyone who renders a real service getting payment for the service rendered.

All the recommendations of the Fishing Industry Committee with regard to the crew have been ignored. I do not want to waste time in dealing with them, but the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade has chided us on more than one occasion on the subject. I recall one recommendation that we regard as fundamental. On page 151 of the Fishing Industry Committee's Report there is a recommendation. Evidence was taken, abuse was proved in all sorts of ways, and these are the Committee's summing up and recommendations with regard to the crews: That Parliament should be invited to amend the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, in relation to the employment of fishermen as members of crews of fishing vessels in the following respect:— It should be made compulsory for the signing on and off of the crews of fishing vessels to take place at Board of Trade offices in the presence of a marine superintendent or his deputy. It should be made compulsory for owners to give to each member of the crew of a fishing vessel who is paid partly by share in the profits, a detailed settling sheet in the form now furnished to skippers and mates. It should be made compulsory for the owner of a fishing vessel to furnish to the marine superintendent a certified true copy of the settling sheet issued to the skipper, master and crew. Failure to do so should be made an offence subject to a substantial fine. The requirements in regard to the provision of life-saving appliances on fishing vessels should be revised so as to be applicable to modern fishing vessels in modern conditions, and power should be given to the Board of Trade to vary them from time to time, as circumstances require. Members of the crew may be as individualistic as are the owners of trawlers, because of their life and their environment, but they are as much entitled to receive a true settling sheet as is the master or the mate. These men do the work; they risk their lives. They enter into engagements, and those engagements ought to be fully carried out. The Fishing Industry Committee recommended that the Government take steps in that direction, but no word, no action, no dot or comma is there in the Bill referring to the crews. We regret that. We entirely agree with the conception of the Government as embodied in Clauses 3, 4 and 5. We think there may be something in the point of Clause 2, but here again, while we are willing to allow the Government to restrict, while we are prepared to accept some of the arguments as substantial, we cannot see why the Government should not give the consumer some guarantee that prohibition will not take place unless generous supplies at reasonable prices are available.

The Order under Clause 1 restricting the importation of 200,000 cwts. may not be much. It is the implication of Clause 1 that matters, perhaps, more than the restriction. We wanted the Order under Clause 1 to operate for only 12 months, but the Government have insisted on three years. The imports of fish decreased in 1931–32. and the consumption per head went down to exactly the same extent. In 12 months we would be able to see what the effect of an Order under Clause 1 would be. We would be able to determine whether or not supplies at reasonable prices were available. If there was an adverse effect on the consumer that would surely be reflected on the producer ultimately. The Government have the power either to renew or to hesitate to renew any Order under Clause 1.

Legislation for dealing with the fishing industry is long overdue. I am pleased that the Government have done something, even though that something is done quite wrongly. White fish and cured fish will now become a subject that we shall have to watch very carefully. We regret that the Government have concentrated exclusively on restricting supplies, have paid 110 attention to the control of prices, have done nothing to safeguard the income of the crews or to remove the abuses practised by the trawler companies and by the auctioneers, who very often act for the trawler companies, and by all the people who take advantage of the crews as referred to in the Fishing Industry Committee's Report. For all these reasons we oppose the Bill.

8.0 p.m.


I desire, in the first place, to associate myself with the congratulations offered by the last speaker to the hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley) whom we were delighted to hear moving the Third Reading of the Bill. The hon. Member said that the fishing industry had been neglected and that there had not been any legislation dealing with it for a long time. I think it is true to say that the industry has been neglected since the War, though before the War we had the North Sea Fisheries Convention and a number of administrative measures taken by the Fishery Board in Scotland, some of which indeed the hon. Member might scarcely have approved of, inasmuch as they were directed against the trawlers or rather against those in the trawling industry who abused their rights. Moreover, it is hardly true to say that it has been entirely neglected since the War. The Government of which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) was head, gave very substantial help to the industry, and since the War, Members of all parties have become increasingly aware of the serious plight of the industry and the need for legislative action. It is only fair to pay a tribute, in passing, to Dr. Addison and the Labour Government of which he was a Member for setting up the committee of inquiry, the report of which, on the Government's own admission, forms the basis of the Bill.

The objects of the Bill are laudable but I think the hon. Member for Grimsby went too far in claiming that there was general agreement on its principles. On the contrary, I regard the principles of Clauses 1 and 2 as wholly vicious and as far outweighing the benefits which the industry may conceivably receive—indeed, I think, will certainly receive—under Clauses 3, 4 and 5. If I may be allowed another personal reference before proceeding to deal with the Bill further, may I say that the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland seemed to think that in speaking of the inadequacy of some explanation which he gave earlier I implied a personal inadequacy on his part? The House knows that if there is an adequate explanation to be given we can rely on the hon. Gentleman to give it with fullness and lucidity. It is only when he is asked to attempt the impossible that his explanations fall short of that standard.

I desire to concentrate on these two Clauses 1 and 2, which I consider are fraught with real danger to the fishing industry. I take Clause 2 first. It enables the Government to prevent fishing in an area of the sea which has yielded an important contribution to the fishing supplies of this country in the past. We are told that it is only during certain months that fishing in that area is to be prevented but those months constitute a large proportion of the months during which that area is free from ice. It is a very important source of supply. The report of the Scott Committee refers to seven or eight different sources of supply and ranks the Bear Island and Spitzbergen area as third in importance. In their interim report the Committee say that the Trawlers Federation informed them that there was a large and increasing demand in industrial districts such as Lancashire and the West Riding, for fish of the commoner types which have been taken in abundance on the Bear Island ground. It is fish of those commoner types which is within the reach of the people in the industrial districts in Lancashire and the West Riding, and yet the supplies from the grounds where that kind of fish is plentiful are going to be restricted under Clause 2 with unfortunate effects, inevitably, on the cost of living of those industrial populations. That is my first objection to Clause 2.

My next objection is that it will almost inevitably lead to over-fishing in the North Sea. The Minister in moving the Second Reading of the Bill declared that the North Sea was subject to over-fishing now. He said: Of course, if we allow that it is impossible to overfish the North Sea, all that argument falls to the ground, but I ask he House to reject that view."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th June, 1933; cols. 1347–1348, Vol. 279.] Evidence accumulates about the over-fishing of the North Sea and its disastrous effects. If these trawlers are pre vented from going to the distant fishing grounds—not only the existing trawlers but the new trawlers on which the hon. Member for Grimsby has descanted to us—they will go to the already congested grounds nearer home in the North Sea. This will lead to further over-fishing in the North Sea with disastrous results to what is by far the most important of all this country's sources of fish supplies. That brings me to another point which is very important from the Scottish point of view and from the point of view of hon. Members representing certain Cornish and other constituencies, namely, the effect on the inshore fisherman. Undoubtedly, one of the effects will be to intensify the competition of the trawlers. It will give them a fresh incentive for their depredations within the three-mile limit and I may point out to the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland that it will make it more important that he should increase the efficiency of his cruiser patrol to prevent those depredations. The restriction of fishing on the distant grounds is full of danger to the inshore fisherman at home.

I come to my fourth and last objection to Clause 2. We have had a long discussion on the main report of the Scott Committee but I would like to refer to the interim report which was furnished by the Committee when Dr. Addison was still its chairman, on the subject of the discovery of new fishing grounds. That interim report states that in some cases the nearer fishing grounds already worked by British trawlers have become less productive and that in others foreign competition has become keener. The Committee states that the British Trawlers Federation strongly urged exploratory work for the discovery of new grounds. It was only in January, 1930, that the British Trawlers Federation was urging that policy, and they stated that owing to the absence of adequate data the use of those distant grounds was more costly and more dangerous than was fishing in those waters in which, for economic reasons, it was less profitable for British trawlers to operate. The waters which the Federation declare to be the least profitable to operate are the very waters to which they are going to be confined under Clause 2.

Further, they contended that it would be unreasonable to expect them to incur expenditure the results of which would be embodied in published charts and would become available to the world, and they asked this House on behalf of the taxpayer to incur that expenditure. If adequate charts were available and if the necessary trawlers were available, the Federation state that there is almost no limit to the number of landings possible from these fishing grounds. The Committee on the advice of the Trawlers Federation recommended only three years ago an expenditure of £250,000 of which a substantial sum has already been spent. I do not know whether any of the new charts have yet been provided, but I should think that the old charts showing the latitude and longitude are all that they would now require to be certain of the limits of those grounds on which they will no longer be allowed to fish but for the discovery of which this House has voted such a considerable sum of money. Even if restriction were a desirable policy, this Clause would be one of the craziest ways of applying the principle to the problem of the fishing industry.

Now, I come to Clause 3. This Clause is ill-conceived to deal with the real plight of the fishing industry. It is vicious in principle and is likely to be in some respects a source of further danger to the fishing industry. Even if the positive dangers which I foresee can be guarded against, and if the limits to its operation which were described by the Minister on the Second Reading are adhered to, it will be nugatory in its effect on the general situation. The Minister described eloquently and in language by no means exaggerated the situation of the industry. He said that the accountants reports Show that the price of fish at the port of landing has not only fallen below the remunerative level, but below the replacement level, and that eventually the whole industry might be "swamped" and might "finally founder." That, he said, was the situation with which we had to deal and he added: With the danger of widespread unemployment, with the danger that an industry vital, if any industry is vital, to the life of the country may founder while we are talking about it, we must he ready to take immediate steps. The Minister says "Here are positive recommendations which will save the industry." What are these recommendations. The Minister informs us: We have arranged accordingly with foreign countries, and they are accepting the limitations which we put in, that is to 'say, that a 10 per cent. cut will be made upon their average annual imports, during the last three years, country by country. All countries will be treated alike in this respect, and the reduction of imports of white fish, we reckon, will amount to about 200,000 cwts. per annum on the average of the last three years."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th June, 1933, cols. 1341, 1343, 1354, Vol. 279.] Out of 14,000,000 cwts. of fish which come upon the market every year, 200,000 cwts. are to be taken off, which means 600 or 700 cwts. a day taken off the markets of the country. When I refer to the 14,000,000 cwts., that, of course, is the whole supply coming on the market, and of those only 200,000 cwts. of the foreign supplies are to be stopped, and that means that if the equivalent amount of the home supplies is stopped the total reduction will be only 400,000 cwts.

But is there to be a reduction even of 200,000 cwts. in the amount of foreign supplies now coming upon the market? The Minister, it will be remembered, said that the 10 per cent. cut would be made upon the average annual imports during the last three years. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade supplied the figures of those imports to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Banff (Sir M. Wood), on the 30th June, and I find that they were 2,500,000 cwts., roughly, in 1930, just over 2,000,000 in 1931, and 1,800,000 cwts. in 1932. The average of those is just over 2,000,000 cwts., and if you take off 10 per cent. of that average, it comes to a little more than 200,000 cwts. Subtract it from the average of 2,100,000 cwts., and you will find that the amount of imports which are to be allowed to come in will be 1,941,000 cwts. in the coming year, as against 1,856,000 cwts. which came in last year.

Under these proposals there will be no restriction. If the limits laid down by the Minister are to be adhered to, there will be more fish allowed to enter, larger foreign imports, next year than last year; and if they had left it alone—actually the foreign imports have been falling off every year for the last four or five years—there would have been less still. That is why I say that if the limits suggested by the Minister are adhered to, this Clause will be practically nugatory in its effects. But if these limits are not observed and if additional restrictions are enforced is it not evident that inevitably it must have the effect of putting up the retail price, if indeed in the existing circumstances the wholesale price has sufficient buoyancy to rise at all? The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade said that he was certain the retail price would not rise because of his experience in the meat trade; but the fish trade is a very different matter. The Food Council has analysed the structure of the fishing industry, and it has shown that the profits of the retailer, port salesman and inland salesman, taken together, mount only to ½d. per lb. If you put up the wholesale price of fish, the rise will very rapidly reach the retail shop, where. 30 per cent. of the fish is sold, or the fried fish shop, of which my hon. Friend was speaking, where no less than 50 per cent. of the landings of fish are sold at the present time. If this increase of price takes place in the existing circumstances of depression, of low wages, and of unemployment, it can have only one result, namely, to reduce consumption, and the last stage of the fishing industry, if that takes place, will be a great deal worse than it was before this Bill was introduced.

There is, I think, no part of the United Kingdom which will be more seriously affected than that part which is so ably represented, in part, by my hon. Friend the Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Burnett). One half of the foreign fish landed in this country is landed in Aberdeen, of which no less than 73 per cent. is exported, an invaluable export trade, which is maintained in the teeth of the fiercest competition and on the narrowest margins. We hear a great deal of the balance of trade and of the importance of restricting imports. It is a far more healthy way of restoring the balance of trade to encourage your exports than to restrict your imports, but what are we to say of a Government which, at a time when they are committed to restoring the balance of trade, bring in a Measure of this kind, which must be dangerous for one of our valuable export trades? When the tariff was put on at first, the objections of the industry were waived on one side, but, owing very largely to the strenuous, hard work of my hon. Friend in representing the interests of his constituents, eventually it was decided that a method of drawback should be adopted. There is, however, no method of drawback in the case of a quota. If this quota limits to any extent the supplies of that very valuable industry, not only to Aberdeen, but to the whole country, it will have indeed serious and possibly irreparable consequences.

What does this foreign fish mean to the country? It means not only a supply of good, cheap fish for our consumers; it means the expenditure of a great deal of money in this country by the foreigner. It is calculated that these Germans bringing this fish to Aberdeen spend £140,000 a year for coal, labour, and harbour dues. They spend £80,000 for Fife coal alone. The loading, the curing, the fish meal into which a great deal of this fish is converted, the transport, even the wages of the German crews, of which a substantial part is spent in Aberdeen, all mean work and prosperity for the people of Aberdeen; and it is only the profits of the voyage that go back to Germany on these German ships, a very much smaller amount than that which is spent here in our own country of Scotland.

Therefore, I say that this Bill is full of dangers for an important section of the fishing trade of this country, and not only so. I further said that I was prepared to prove that it was ill-conceived to deal with the real causes of the distress. These foreign imports are not the cause at all. They have been going down for the last five years, according to all the figures. Nothing is done in this Bill for the inshore fishermen, in spite of the recommendations of the Scott Committee, which says clearly what is required. It quotes the Food Council, which had also reported on what was necessary for the inshore fishermen, namely, better marketing arrangements to give them a fair deal, which they are not getting at the present time in the markets of the country. The Scott Committee say: The policy of leaving to the salesmen themselves the task of carrying out the necessary reform through their Association may be regarded as having definitely failed, and a remedy must accordingly be sought elsewhere. Everybody knew what the defects were. The industry, as at present constituted, was unwilling to put these defects right. It is true that under this Bill a Sea-fish Commission is to be set up to discover afresh what these defects are. The Government have refused the weapon which they might have held over the industry of declining to make fresh Orders or to continue the existing Orders in operation unless the industry put their house in order.


Is it the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's proposition that until there is a marketing scheme in being there is to be no restriction?


Certainly. I am opposed entirely to the whole policy of restrictions, but in case it were proved that restrictions will constitute the advantage which the Government think they will constitute, it was folly on the part of the Government not to keep in their hands a weapon which, if it proves to be a weapon at all—but I think it will be a broken reed—will compel the industry to take those steps which are necessary to give the inshore fishermen a fair deal on the market. The Scott Committee says: As the Food Council has pointed out, the root of the complaint lies in the fact that salesmen act both as merchants buying and selling fish on their own account and as commission salesmen on behalf of port wholesale merchants. Such a state of affairs inevitably leads to abuses. We think these abuses should be cleared away before special advantages are given to any of the interests which are mentioned in the Bill.

There is no benefit in this Bill for the inshore fishing industry. They do not compete in the same kind of markets as the trawling fishermen. As my hon. Friend the Member for Banff (Sir M. McKenzie Wood) said in his Second Reading speech, nobody would buy trawled fish if they could get the inshore stuff. It is a different kind of commodity, and these restrictions, even if they were effective would not bring the inshore fishermen any benefit. There is nothing for the inshore fishermen or for the herring fishermen in this Bill. When the first German Trade Agreement was concluded we demanded to know why there was nothing for the herring fishing industry, which is in by far the worst condition of any section of the fishing industry. The Scott Committee said: the situation of the herring fishing industry presents problems far more serious than those of the trawling industry. Yet in the first Trade Agreement with Germany the herring fishing trade, which has its most important market in Germany, was left out. I do not know whether a White Paper has been circulated, but in the "Times" yesterday there was an account of the new Fishing Agreement with Germany. There is nothing about the herring fishing industry, however, although Germany is the most important market for that section of the industry, which is far more distressed than the trawling industry. There is nothing in either of these trading agreements with Germany for the herring fishing industry which does a great export trade, which would be so valuable for the general policy of the Government in improving the balance of trade. There is nothing for it in this Bill, nothing, indeed, except the dangers that will come to our export trade in herrings if we still further interfere with the export trade of other countries in other forms of fish. The Secretary of State for Scotland said in his speech on the Second Reading that I would no doubt agree with him that there had been a mistaken idea in the past that the Secretary of State had no interest in the trawling industry, and was concerned only with the herring fishing industry. I agree that the trawling fishing industry is an important part of the fishing industry of the country which every Secretary of State must take into account, but, after all, only one-third of the fishermen of the United Kingdom are employed in the trawling industry, and only one-sixth of the fishermen in Scotland are employed in it. I have no hesitation in saying that the Secretary of State and the Minister of Agriculture, especially in view of the opinion expressed by the Scott Committee, ought to regard the herring fishing industry of Scotland as being within their special purview. The Secretary of State for Scotland ought to have a very special regard for the interests of that great industry.

This Bill is ill-conceived to deal with the causes of the depression in the fishing industry. It is vicious in principle—the idea that you can restore prosperity, still less employment, by restricting production with the inevitable result of throwing more men out of employment. The Government in this matter, as in some other matters, do not seem to know their own minds. The hon. Member for Grimsby, in his admirable speech in moving the Third Reading of the Bill, like the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade at an earlier stage, talked about the new trawlers that were going to be built. New trawlers to catch fewer fish! That is the most astonishing "Alice-Through-the-Looking-Glass" economics that I have heard, even from this Government, for a long time. This restriction is vicious in principle because, although the Minister of Agriculture says that only 10 per cent. of the restriction is to be put in force, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, in winding up the Debate on the Second Reading, made it quite clear that the Government held themselves free to prohibit entirely foreign imports of fish. He said: The Board of Trade regulate the landings. The Order to regulate may prohibit. It is not necessarily a quota system. … I can only say that this Order is intended to be used as a sluice gate … which may exclude totally or partially."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th June, 1933; col. 1453, Vol. 279.] The power of excluding totally or prohibiting the import of an important article of food for the great masses of the people like fish is one which the House ought not to entrust to any Government Department. Restrictions have been imposed in one country after another in an effort to shelter particular industries from the effects of economic depression, and have uniformly had one result. Whether it has been the taking of wheat off the market by the Canadian Wheat Pool, or what they call in America "Hoover's Seven Hundred Million Dollar folly," the Farm Board—wherever the effort has been made it has always had the result of driving down prices still further. With great stocks overhanging the market prices have dropped to lower and lower levels. So I believe that this principle of restriction, vicious in general, will prove to be vicious as applied to this particular industry.

It is quite inconsistent with the central theme of the Government's policy. That policy, as enunciated by the Prime Minister at the opening of the World Economic Conference, was to free international trade, to remove restrictions, to let goods move more freely across the waters of the globe; yet here we are introducing fresh restrictions. The Minister said the Government are doing this in consultation and in agreement with foreign countries; but what sort of agreement is it when Ministers go to those countries and make it clear to them that, whether they agree or not, there are going to be these restrictions, and so they had better agree quickly or it will be the worse for them? They do this at a moment when they have gone into a World Economic Conference with "Freedom of trade" blazoned upon their banners and with the Prime Minister saying that what they want is to remove restrictions and to make trade move more freely.

Therefore, I say that this Bill is inconsistent with the main theme of the Government's policy, it is irrelevant to the main causes of the depression in the fishing industry, it is likely to be in some respects, and in those which are of particular importance to Scotland, dangerous and not helpful to the fishing industry, and it will certainly fail to achieve the objects and the wishes which we all share and which the Government have explained to the House, and will prove, as I fear, not a blessing, but a curse, to the fishing industry.

8.37 p.m.

Commander COCHRANE

The hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) when he moved his Amendment, expressed the hope that he had stated quite clearly his reasons for the course he took. While I disagree with the emphasis which he put on the various points which he raised, I most certainly agree that he expressed his reasons very clearly. Those points have already been discussed, and therefore I do not propose to say anything more about them. My right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) proceeded on rather different lines, because it appeared to me, during the course of his speech, that the vehemence of his denunciation of the Government had caused his argument to stand on its bead on several occasions. I would point out one or two instances where I think he was rather at fault in that respect. First, it is a matter of astonishment that he should have denounced so wholeheartedly the fact that the foreign restrictions was not sufficient.


I did not denounce the fact. I pointed it out.

Commander COCHRANE

The right hon. and gallant Gentleman regretted that there was not more foreign restriction. That was the only inference to be drawn from his speech.


I did not regret it. I merely pointed out that this was a Bill which, on the face of it does not bring about restriction, and if it fails to do it I certainly regret that the Government should waste the time of the House by bringing before us a Measure which fails to fulfil its purpose.

Commander COCHRANE

Perhaps my right hon. and gallant Friend will read his speech in the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow, and then settle the matter with the leader of his Party. The next point with which I wish to deal was his argument about Aberdeen, which was really one of the most extraordinary arguments I have ever heard in this House. What he proved, apparently entirely to his own satisfaction, was that Aberdeen would be much more prosperous if the whole of the fishing trade were carried on by German trawlers.

Sir A. SINCLAIR indicated dissent.

Commander COCHRANE

Well, I do not know of any other point in that argument, because he referred to the 80,000 tons of Fife coal which the German trawlers use. Would British trawlers burn less?


Aberdeen would be less prosperous if it did not have the German fish. My hon. and gallant Friend can ask anybody in the Aberdeen fish-curing industry if that is not true.

Commander COCHRANE

My right hon. and gallant Friend has addressed the House, and surely I may be permitted to put my interpretation upon the views he has laid before the House.


But not to misrepresent them.

Commander COCHRANE

If I have misrepresented my right hon. and gallant Friend I hope he will draw attention to that misrepresentation, and not intervene with any complaint he has of the views which I am trying to express.


The hon. and gallant Member said I had stated that the Aberdeen fishing industry would be less prosperous if it had more home fish. I pointed out clearly that it would be less prosperous if it had less German fish, which is a very different thing.

Commander COCHRANE

What I said, certainly what I intended to say, was that the only conclusion I could draw from the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's speech was that in his view Aberdeen would be more prosperous if the whole of its fishing industry was carried on by German trawlers. If that was not his contention I can see no point in his reference to the 80,000 tons of coal burned by German trawlers, and no point in his reference to three-quarters of the wages of the German crews being spent there.


Is my hon. and gallant Friend aware that the Aberdeen fish merchants sent a deputation to Germany and asked them particularly to come to Aberdeen with their fish, because they were unable to get the particular supplies they wanted from our own ships at home?

Commander COCHRANE

I quite appreciate that argument from the Liberal party, on behalf of the middlemen, but I would point out that the fishing industry will not be in a satisfactory condition until the supplies to which my hon. Friend refers are available from British trawlers. So long as they insist on those supplies being provided by German trawlers, there can be no hope of that type of fish being provided by our own trawlers. Further, my right hon. and gallant Friend said this Bill did nothing for the herring industry. I hope I shall not be pulled up again. Indeed, I think he went further, and said it would be harmful to the herring industry. I am glad that I am correct for once. Perhaps I may examine that point. It is a great mistake to think that the herring industry stands alone, particularly the Scottish herring industry, in which we have the very large type of steam drifter which cannot be maintained on the amount of herring fishing which is now available during the 12 months. In order to pay their heavy overhead charges, those boats have to try to work all the year round, and some part of their fishing must be line fishing. When they cannot carry out herring fishing they are bound to go line fishing in the North Sea.

If there is one Clause in this Bill which I regard with the greatest favour as being of the greatest importance, it is Clause 3, which limits the size of the mesh which may be used for catching fish. I think that will have a most beneficial effect on the stocks of fish in the North Sea, and in that way tend to help the herring industry, because the herring industry ought not to be regarded as a thing apart and not concerned with stocks of white fish. That was another point where I think my right hon. and gallant Friend laid an entirely wrong emphasis on the provisions of the Bill. Referring to the restrictions on fish coming from Bear Island and those areas, he said the result would be that trawlers which are not allowed to fish there would come into the North Sea, and thereby still further deplete stocks already too low. If one takes two Clauses of the Bill together, Clauses 2 and 3, I do not think that interpretation can be put upon them. I am satisfied that the provisions of Clause 3, which restrict the size of the mesh to be used, will far outweigh any additional fishing which may take place in the North Sea, in the case of the Bear Island area being closed for a few months.

The right hon. and gallant Gentleman referred to the point as to new trawlers being built that was mentioned by the hon. Member who moved the Third Reading. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman said, "Here you are restricting fishing, and yet you are building new trawlers at the same time." He described it, I think, as something suitable for "Alice in Wonderland." It is well to inquire why trawlers are not being replaced to-day. Surely the reason is that the fishing fleet is run at a loss. You cannot replace an £8,000 trawler out of a loss of £100 a month. If this monthly loss can, as a result of this Bill, be changed into a profit, it is logical that new trawlers will be ordered to replace the worn-out ones.

I would offer a cordial welcome to this Bill, mainly for what is contained in Clauses 3 and 4, which restrict the size of the net which may be used. It is the first time that the British Parliament has dealt in this way with the question of the taking of small fish from the high seas. I hope that the method which is proposed will prove satisfactory, and that we shall, in the course of time, be able to get back to what is the only satisfactory state of affairs, particularly in an almost enclosed area like the North Sea, which is that the people who carry on line-fishing, if they go to a suitable bank, will be able to get a reasonable haul of fish. In these matters there must be some rough-and-ready rule, and I believe that a convenient rule for testing whether an area is over-fished or not is whether you can get a decent haul of fish by lines in that area. It may be thought that only foolish or ill-nourished fish would get themselves caught by a hook, but I understand from those who know this subject that that is not so, and that, in fact, it is the healthiest and best fish that are caught on the long lines. That provides a rough-and-ready test in this matter. For those reasons, I welcome this Bill as an important advance and because of what I hope it will enable fresh legislation to do for the fishing industry.

8.49 p.m.


I cannot help feeling, after having sat in the House for the whole of this Debate, that a large portion of the discussion has been unreal. The House has spent a good deal of time discussing Amendments which, in my humble opinion, have no practical basis of justice. I do not in the least mean disrespect to hon. Members and still less to this House, but I confess that it makes one despair of the party system which brings up Amendments of this sort and of the sense of time of hon. Members. The hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) reminded me of the thrush. That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over Lest you should think he never could recapture The first fine careless rapture! I do not suggest that the voice of Torquay is the voice of the thrush, but the tactics seem to he very closely similar.

We listened to a vigorous onslaught upon this Bill by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) I am very sorry that he has left the Chamber, because I feel it necessary to examine some of the amazing observations that he passed. I do so with a good deal of trepidation, because he and I have, in the past, worked very closely on this and similar problems. We have been brought up in the same traditions and have shared the same faith, and I cannot understand the departure that he has made from those old Liberal traditions. I want to examine his point of view. He started off by saying that Clause 2 was an impossible Clause, to which he offered complete and unbending objection. He and his colleagues are constantly referring to reports to substantiate their view; may I also refer to a report from the country of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, the Scottish Fisheries Board Report. I find that, as regards this problem of taking fish from certain areas at certain times of the year, the Board, which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman and his friends support, say, in their report for 1932, published a few days ago: Trips to this Northern ground yield, as a rule, heavy catches, but, as a result of the time spent on the passage, the fish are usually marketed in inferior condition, thus realising low prices, and possibly also depressing the value of fish landed from nearer grounds in better condition. That is the whole reason and justification for this Clause. Fish are coming in in bad condition and poor quality, depressing the whole market, lowering prices and making the livelihood of the fishermen all the more difficult. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman said that that Clause was going to have a very discouraging effect upon inshore fishermen because the trawlers would steal in during the night, more than ever, As I understand it, the Sea-fish Commission, which I am delighted to find my right hon. and gallant Friend supports, though some of his colleagues are rather critical of it, will have as one of its important tasks to inquire into this matter of illegal trawling, which is very important in Scotland, and to suggest proposals and recommendations in that regard.

He passed on from to criticise the whole system of curtailing foreign imports. In his examination, by some kind of Maskelyne mathematics, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was able to prove that by reducing foreign imports by 10 per cent. more imports came in! If that be so, why should the right hon. and gallant Gentleman object to it? It seemed that he should have welcomed the Bill, which was going to increase the flow of foreign fish into this country. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman must face up to the real practical problems with which the fishing industry is confronted. I have the greatest possible respect for the work that my right hon. and gallant Friend has done in the past, but I beg him on this occasion to face realities without theories or doctrinaire policies of any kind. One of the realities is that there is a great and growing over-supply of fish on the market. My right hon. and gallant Friend and his colleagues, as well as hon. Members on the opposite benches, have repeatedly quoted the evidence of the Addison Committee, and they have referred to the recommendations as to unemployment, and to the recommendations upon the sale of fish. Why have none of those critics of the Bill told the House that the third of a long line of recommendations by this committee is that the imports of fish should be subjected to seine kind of control 4 That is the recommendation of their own committee, which they are calling to their support throughout this Debate. It is on page 134 of the report, and it reads as follows: We are thus now confronted with a situation in which the fish which the British trawling industry can market is substantially below its productive capacity. Later on it proceeds: In these circumstances, we recommend that the question of imposing restrictions on the imports of white fish should be considered by His Majesty's Government. That is what the Government have done. The recommendations of the Addison Committee have been examined by the Scottish Fishery Board—to return again to the native land of my right hon. Friend the Member for Caithness—and they have expressed their views upon it. They say: The average price of white fish at Scottish ports has fallen from 22s. 9d. per cwt. in 1929 to 17s. 4d. per cwt. in 1932; and, while this decrease is in part due to the world-wide economic depression, it appears clear that the substantial increase during that period in the landings in England of fish from distant waters, and the continually increasing quantity of small haddocks landed, have been important contributory factors. Some restriction of the supply of these inferior qualities of fish seems to be necessary. That, again, is a justification for this Bill, coming, as it does, from people who have examined the problem with the greatest care and with complete impartiality.


I have been looking very carefully at page 134 of the Report of the Committee on the Fishing Industry, and I do not find there the words which the hon. Member has quoted.


I copied the quotation from the report, but it may be on some other page. I will check it and let the hon. Gentleman know, but the words I have read are precisely the words of the report.

This Bill is not the beginning and end of the fish legislation of this Government, or of this Parliament, or of this country. It is only the beginning. We are only preparing the net to catch the trade of the future. The Minister informed us in Committee upstairs that it is his firm determination to advance with further measures to better the system of marketing and the system of transport of fish, to improve the conditions of employment, to which my hon. Friends opposite attach so much importance, to improve and increase the consumption of fish by the people of this country, and to deal with the herring industry. My right hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and his colleagues are right in deploring the fact that the herring industry is depressed, and in asking for measures for its improvement; but do not let them condemn this Bill, which advances a certain distance, because it does not advance the whole distance at once. That would be unreasonable. The Bill is the foundation upon which we shall build in the future.

My right hon. Friend and I, in days gone by, have fought for security of tenure for the smallholders. We took the view then that these men, in Scotland and elsewhere, were in an intolerable position, never knowing when their rents would be raised, or when they would be turned out of their holdings. We fought for security of tenure for them. The fishermen also should be given security. Their security is the security of a market and of prices. I would appeal to my hon. Friends in this way, that by supporting this Bill they will be helping to carry through the principles for which they and I fought together in days gone by. I regret exceedingly that they voted against the Second Reading of the Bill, and I am afraid that, unless the Minister can catch them in one of their fleeting movements, they may vote against it again. I want them to realise that, if they do, they will be condemning, and, as far as they are able, killing, a Measure many of whose provisions they support, and many of whose provisions are urgently needed and asked for by the fishing industry. The prohibition against the catching and landing of immature fish is not objected to. Why kill a Bill which aims at this necessary measure, and which brings into force the Sea-fish Commission, which has been described by my right hon. Friend as so necessary and advisable at the present time? He referred to the work of his Liberal predecessors, and I was glad that he did so. They have done much for the fishing industry in years gone by. I appeal to my hon. Friends now not to dishonour the tradition which is theirs by voting against this Measure, which attempts to do something for the fishermen. This Bill gives to the fishermen a chance of making good, and for that reason I appeal to my hon. Friends to support it.

9.2 p.m.


The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) expressed concern as to the position under this Bill of the Aberdeen fish curers. I have had a certain amount to do with the fish curers in Aberdeen, and I can endorse what the right hon. Gentleman has said as to the enterprise with which they have carried on their industry. In the face of competition from Norway and other countries, they have carried their trade into South America, Spain and elsewhere with great success. I should like at the same time to acknowledge the help which the right hon. Gentleman gave me when I was endeavouring to get a drawback for these fish curers. Now the Advisory Committee have given that drawback, and we know that the entry of fish from Iceland is not restricted. I cannot see, therefore, why the fish curers of Aberdeen should look upon this Bill with any alarm whatsoever, and my experience down at the fish market has been that the Bill is very strongly supported. It is rather extraordinary that, with an industry where the interests are so conflicting as in the fish trade, the Minister should have been able to frame a Bill which appears to appeal to all sides of the industry.

In the Amendment which has been put forward by hon. Members opposite, regret is expressed regarding the restriction of the import of fish, and the effect which it is likely to have upon food supplies in this country from the con- sumer's point of view. If we look at the matter from every point of view, I cannot see why the Bill should have an adverse effect upon the consumer. Its whole purpose is to increase the supplies of fish for the future, and to prevent the prodigal use of the fish that we have and of the fishing grounds that we use. If we consume our fish two or three years before the normal time for eating them, if we eat all these immature fish, we shall find that we have wasted our substance, and that, instead of the rich harvest of the sea that we might be getting, we shall have little besides seaweed. I was talking to a number of fishermen last Saturday in the market and I found very general agreement among them as to depletion in the North Sea. One man with from 40 to 50 years' fishing experience said that formerly they could go out at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and bring back a big shot of haddock and sole for the Aberdeen market the next morning. Nowadays they would have to travel far before they could get that. Formerly on a trip they could bring in from 50 to 100 boxes of plaice, good sizeable fish of 1½ to 2 lbs. weight. Nowadays it is difficult to get plaice large enough for filleting, and halibut has been swept practically clear of the North Sea. Most of the halibut has to be got from Arctic waters. This means much larger overhead expenses. Wages, coal and food for the crew means that fish is dearer than it would be if we could get it in our own grounds. There is no doubt that the Bill in that way is aiming at our getting ultimately cheaper and better fish than we are getting now.

It is generally agreed that the cause of the depletion of the North Sea is the killing of immature fish, but as to how to prevent this there seem to be different views. There have been research experiments and the result goes to show that a larger mesh would do something, but I have heard this contested by fishermen, who say that the mesh gets pulled out and the small fish cannot get through it. Someone writing to me a day or two ago said he had examined a shot that had just been brought in caught with a 3-inch mesh net, and there were as many small fish as there would be with an ordinary net. There are many who hold that a more serous cause of the destruction of fish even than that is the otter trawl, and particular the French gear attached to it. There is a wire cable which is fixed between the trawl board and the Dan Leno at the mouth of the net, and on each side it goes out more or less in the shape of the rear of a snow-plough and sweeps in a large amount of fish, but it also destroys a great deal of spawn and kills a lot of the young fish. Doubtless in time we shall improve our methods and, when we have the funds to buy new and improved trawlers, smaller vessels, possibly, with Diesel engines, which will be able to operate with less overhead expenses, we Shall be able to consider further how to conserve our fishing grounds. It is said that we are restricting supplies and that as a. result we shall have a smaller amount of fish for food. I do not think that necessarily follows. There is a margin. We are not getting all the food that we might from the fish that comes in. Much of it is used as fish meal and fish manure, and glue and various other products are made of it. If we took pains to preserve it, we should get a much larger percentage of human food. The hon. Member for Banff (Sir M. McKenzie Wood) a little while ago said that no one had ever presented any serious criticism of the landing of fish. The criticism had all been of the marketing. I do not think he can have read the Food Investigation Report, No. 37, on the handling and stowing of white fish at sea. I should like to read an extract: The disadvantage of emptying the fish out of the trawl on to the unclean deck; of allowing the guts to mix with the fish; of sorting into dirty baskets; of cursory and ineffective washing, and o stowing in fish rooms the fittings of which are tainted with the accumulated slime of many voyages appears, hitherto, to have escaped the critical notice of the vessel owners. Surely that is serious criticism. Again— The methods of handling and stowing aboard the fishing vessels have remained practically unchanged since the introduction of ice. Ice was introduced in 1875. A number of interesting experiments are given in the report and a number of recommendations are made. A ship was sent out in connection with the experiment and it had a bacteriologist on board. It was proved very thoroughly that the handling and the pressing of the fish broke the protective covering round its tissue. Bacteria, which were always there, invaded this and the fish deteriorated very quickly when that was the case. It was recommended, amongst other things, that the fish should be put in small non-returnable boxes and that a heavy weight of ice should not be put on them to crush them. The boxes should be piled one on the other, overlapping, with perforations, so that the water could go through the perforations and not go on the fish that were underneath and so help to deteriorate them. It is a strange thing that the recommendations contained in the report, which were the result of a large number of experiments, were never carried into effect. With regard to the preservation of fish on one of the experimental trips, the report says that haddocks which had been caught six days before were, in the judgment of the Consultative Committee, in the same condition as other fish which had been caught only 11 days before, and plaice after five days were in the same condition as plaice in ordinary circumstances caught 1 days before. That shows what we can do in the way of the conservation of fish and how we can increase our food supplies even though the actual amount of fish is restricted. We have taken the first measures here in dealing with the nets and I hope, when that proves successful, as I believe it will, we shall be able to take further successful measures. I welcome the Bill as the beginning of a great many good things to come.

9.14 p.m.


We have listened to-day to a most interesting discussion. I rise to support my hon. Friend's Amendment and shall endeavour to justify it. I must join with other Members in thanking the hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Womersley) for his intervention in the Debate. I am very glad that the Government have seen fit to use his great knowledge both in Committee and here to-day. To be quite frank, he knows more about the fishing industry than all the other Members of the Government combined. At any rate, he and I think so. We endeavoured in Committee upstairs to amend the Bill, and, in common parlance, tried to lick it into shape, but the Government would have none of our ideas. They have been stubborn almost unto stupidity throughout, as if all sense rested on the Government side of the House.

I was very highly pleased and elated to hear the speech of the right hon.

Baronet the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair). If he and his friends can ever vote for this Government after that speech, then there is something wrong either with him or with the Government. I do not think that I have ever heard a more eloquent speech from the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. Certainly, nothing more critical of the Government has ever come from the benches below the Gangway. It was indeed a masterpiece of criticism, and were it not for the mass of followers of the Government who never think how or why they vote, the speech of the right hon. and gallant Baronet would have made a great impression upon the House. He made the astounding remark however that the Bill is inconsistent with the main theme of the policy of the Government. Really I cannot see that. After saying that the Bill is worthless, that in fact the Bill is dangerous and then to add that the Bill was inconsistent with the theme of the policy of the Government was strange to me. I have always held the view that practically every proposal the Government bring forward in this House is a danger to the community. In any case, these proposals fall into that category.

The hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife (Mr. H. Stewart) was rather annoyed that certain Members of the House, especially the Opposition on this side, held views contrary to his own. If he sits in this House for many years to come he will find that it is customary for Members of the House to hold differing views. Sometimes we hold our views very violently and on other occasions quite good humouredly. He appealed to the right hon. and gallant Baronet the Member for Caithness to come back to Liberal traditions—that was the amazing thing—as if he himself embraced Liberal traditions in supporting this Government. How a Member of the House of Commons calling himself a Liberal can satisfy himself that he is embracing Liberal traditions by supporting this Bill and this Government is beyond my comprehension; and I ought to know something about Liberal traditions.

This Third Reading Debate has proved one thing, that the Liberals on those benches who have spoken on the Bill tonight had better make up their minds.

After the powerful speech delivered by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman there is no reason left for supporting this Government, because this Bill is indeed in complete harmony with Tory policy. What do the Government say? Not only are they restricting and regulating the import of foreign fish into this country but they are proposing to prevent our own trawlers from going to certain parts of the high seas for three months each year to catch cheap fish. And all that is done in order to raise the price of the limited amount of fish landed from the trawlers. That is their policy. I am definitely opposed to that policy. I am not speaking at the moment of any repercussions to this policy abroad. When we were upstairs we were provided with a map, just in order to indicate the mind of the Tory party, showing where those trawlers would be prohibited and where they could go. They were entitled to go round Iceland and Greenland and the Russian Coast as well. It was typical of John Bull. He had drawn a huge red line over half the world and said, "That is mine." It was typical of the imperialistic mind of the Tory party which divides up the world by means of a red or a blue line and says to the world "That is mine." [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] I am glad that somebody agrees with me. I would now say a word or two about our efforts upstairs and to-day in trying to get some concessions from the Government. It reminds me of what the Disciples once said—"Master, we have toiled all night and have caught nothing." That is our experience with the Government to-day. We thought that we might at any rate catch them napping. These restrictions will in our view fail in the purpose which the Government have in mind of helping the fishing industry. I would make it clear, apart from the differences of opinion as to how it should be done, that there is no difference between Members of this House of any party that our fishermen should be helped in some form or other. There is no doubt about that, but the way in which the Government proceed to help them is indeed an extraordinary one.

I should have thought that the Government would have started at the other end of the scale and would have said, "How much fish is required by the community? What is the price? Can we increase the consumption of fish in order to employ these men on the high seas on trawlers to better advantage? "That, after all, is the difference between the policy of the Opposition and that of the Government in respect of everything. Let us take a lesson from the past. We saw the same principle of the Government put before the House on Tuesday when we were dealing with the price of meat. The same principle is embodied in this Bill as has been imported into practically all their legislation up to date. We hear them say, "Shut out foreign commodities because they are in competition with our own." How are they to determine whether a fish is a foreigner? Anyway it is their policy to "shut out the foreign product in order to safeguard our own." Last Tuesday in this House we were told that, in spite of all the shutting out of foreign beef, mutton and lamb, almost in the same ratio as we have reduced the imports of those commodities from abroad so have the prices of our home products declined.

9.25 p.m.


I am sure my hon. Friend does not wish to misrepresent me. If he will do me the honour to read my speech, he will see that I said the exact opposite in every single case, and in the statistics I gave to the House.


Will the right hon. and gals ant Gentleman contradict this statement? Did he not say that the price of home-produced beef has gone down in the last few years?


In the last few years! Surely the hon. Member does not suggest we were restricting meat in the last few years. I was not in power then; he was in power.


The right hon. and gallant Gentleman pays us too great a compliment. We were never in power. In conclusion, what the Government are doing is to look after the interests of the trawler owners, the ice merchants, the dealers in fuel, and they almost went to the extent of looking after the interests of the net manufacturers, but they thought later they would stop short of that. The two sections of the community that do not appeal to them are, first of all, the ordinary fisherman and, secondly, the consumer. As to the ordinary fisherman, their policy throughout has been the same that they have adopted with regard to the farm labourer. In effect, what they have said is that, provided farming as a whole is put on a sound foundation, the farm labourer's conditions and wages can look after themselves. After our experience in industry, we cannot believe that, yet they say the same in the case of a fisherman. Not only are the Government neglecting the ordinary fisherman on the trawler, as apart from the owner and the master and the profit maker, but they are neglecting a body far more important than that. The contest in this Bill is between the interests of 60,000 persons employed in the fishing industry, on the one hand, and, on the other, the 44,000,000 consumers, who will have to pay an increased price for fish in consequence of the passing of this Measure. I therefore, support this Amendment in the belief that nothing will help this industry except proper marketing and raising the price of the commodity by proper distribution and thus bringing it into better relationship with modern requirements and abolishing that great gulf which now lies between wholesale and retail prices.

9.28 p.m.


I entirely agree with the hon. Member who has just spoken that we have had a most interesting discussion, and I have no objection to make to the observations or criticisms which he and the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) have addressed to this Bill. I perceive, I believe, underneath their very clearly put and logical speeches a real sympathy on the part of hon. Members opposite with the object of the Bill, which is to save the fishing industry. There is a sense of realism in their speeches which is very refreshing to those who have the responsibility for trying to save an industry which is in the desperate condition which has been more than once described by my hon. Friends. While I listened with interest to the criticism of my hon. and right hon. Friends below the Gangway, those friends who— We have loved long since, hut lost awhile, I felt that those friends had neither any logical basis for their criticism nor indeed any objective or destination for it. They remind me of that interesting zoological phenomenon, the processional caterpillar, which creeps incessantly round and round and gets no further. I confess that, as I listened to the most eloquent and passionate speech of my right hon. and gallant Friend—and I greatly admire orators whose passion is in inverse proportion to the size of their audience—I wondered whether he was really anxious to help the fishing industry of this country or whether he was anxious to retain permanently and inviolately a position in the very centre of the hedge.

With the exception of these hon. and right hon. Gentlemen—and I do not seek to bring into agreement those who do not agree—I feel that there is an undercurrent of sympathy for the objects of this Bill. The object of the Bill, as all speakers have admitted, is to save the fishing industry. No speaker, with the exception of my hon. Friend, has declared that it will fail in that object, though other methods have been suggested. The reasoned Amendment on which the Opposition will vote against the Third Reading this evening is not based on the proposition that the Bill will not assist in the saving of the fishing industry. Underlying all the criticisms of the Labour Opposition, there is the feeling that the Bill will do something to help to save the fishing industry. The measure of concurrence which I feel exists is not confined to the House, because one of the most remarkable things about the Bill is that it represents agreement between ourselves and five great fishing nations. That is a very unusual claim to be made for a Bill. That claim is made all the more remarkable by this fact, that the restriction to which the five agreeing nations have bound themselves, namely, a restriction of 10 per cent. on the average of the last three years, has for its equivalent in our domestic restriction a restriction which is only estimated at some 5 per cent. Therefore, we may say that it is a unique feature of this Bill that it has the support and approval of five foreign countries, because it embodies an agreement which we made with them and that approval is based on a measure of restriction more severe in their case than in ours. While necessity has been the mother of invention, so far as my right hon. and gallant Friend has been concerned all the inventiveness and fruitfulness of his mind needs no necessity to urge it on, but necessity in the case of these other nations has been the mother of agreement.

As the House is well aware of the main principles of the Bill, I do not propose to deal with it at length, but I wish to recall to the House the fact that there are two periods of the Bill. One is the first three years, which is the length of the agreement with foreign nations to which I referred. During that period the agreed restrictions will have their equivalent here in the restrictions on Bear Island landing in certain seasons, the restrictions on the mesh, and the restrictions on the size of the fish sold. With regard to the Bear Island restriction, it is agreed that, by restricting the import of fish from there, one restricts the import of that lowest class fish which most depresses the price of the rest. The only other observation that I would make about Bear Island and the Bear Island restriction is, that when we agreed in Committee the other day that we would exhibit the map in order that the Opposition might be au fait with it, the colour red was not that of John Bull but a graceful acknowledgment of their party colour.

In regard to the other two restrictions, I would remind the House, although I am not going to analyse in full the speech of the right hon. and gallant Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair), because there are limits both to the patience of the House and the hours of the day, that one of his criticisms was that the kind of restrictions which we are imposing by way of the Bear Island, the mesh and the landing restrictions were not the right kind of quid pro quo for foreign restrictions, that the only proper quid pro quo for restricting the foreigner was market organisation. Let me say that these two restrictions, the mesh restriction and the restriction in regard to the size of the fish sold, are restrictions which have received, I understand, a very wide measure of approval by the fishing experts of the world. In particular the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, which is one of the most important of the expert national bodies, has specifically, in a recent report, welcomed these restrictions. Indeed. I think it must strike the mind of all who consider the matter scientifically that if there is any question of lowering the standard of fish the proper way to meet it is by increasing the size of the mesh and increasing the size of fish sold.


I welcome both.


If the right hon. and gallant Gentleman welcomes two of the three restrictions upon which the foreign restrictions are based, then I do not think it, lies in his mouth to draw so complete a distinction between these restrictions and marketing schemes.

In regard to the subject of marketing schemes, the House must recollect that there are two stages in this Bill. The first, the foreign restriction, is put on in return for the Bear Island restriction, the mesh alteration and the alteration with regard to the size of fish, and the second stage is, that after the three years period is over, any new foreign restriction can only be put on as the result of marketing schemes being brought into operation, if and when the Sea-fish Commission report that such schemes can be put into operation. It represents a point of view utterly impracticable and, if I may say so without discourtesy, without any shadow of statesmanship to put off giving any assistance by way of foreign restriction to our own people for three years, or even for one year, for the purely academic reason that you will allow foreign restriction in return for marketing schemes, and upon no other consideration at all, despite the fact that two of the three considerations which will operate during the first three years are universally received with acclamation by all who know and understand the necessities of fishing in the world.

Those are reasons—I will not analyse them further—a kind of intellectual direction, which seem to me to be without any use or realism to a country, an industry and a Government which are faced with the problems that prevail in this great industry. The restrictions upon fishing in this country for the first three years are sound. I do not think we can make any distinction between the wisdom of the mesh restriction, of the size of fish restriction and of the Bear Isalnd restriction. I believe those three restrictions hang together and that they are all in different ways equally valuable.

The other great feature of this Bill during the first three years is that the restrictions which will be placed by order or by agreement on other countries leave to this country an expanding market. The realities and the logic of the proposition must strike the eye and the mind. It is said by my hon. Friends of the Official Opposition that the proper way to proceed is to increase purchasing power. If that seems possible—I will not put it higher than that—if the trade conditions of this country are improving, if you have 400,000 more people employed than you had last Christmas, if that is the tendency which is developing and if to any extent we are within sight of an expanding market, then there will be a larger demand for fish, there will be a larger purchasing power and this Bill provides that every pennyworth of that larger purchasing power will go to the British fishermen and not to the foreigner. It is a widespread belief, which I believe exists in all industries to-day, that we are on the verge of better times. That is one reason why new trawlers are being built, because it is believed by those who know that they are on the verge of a time when there will be a greater demand for fish. There is nothing inconsistent between the restrictions of this Bill and the possibilities of an expanding market.

If I happened to be in the position of hon. Members opposite, the only criticism which I should be inclined to make would be this, I should say: "Why do you assume that it is necessary to give the Sea-fish Commission three years? Why do you give a preliminary period of three years, in which you impose foreign restriction without home reorganisation Why do you postpone reorganisation for three years?" The answer to those questions is simple. When we were dealing with agricultural marketing we were dealing with a. subject on which for the last 30 or 40 years we had been experimenting with co-operation and organisation, and on which there was an immense amount of practical evidence in existence. Moreover, it has been very closely studied by all parties in this country. There was almost universal agreement that the value of agricultural marketing was a proved fact. You cannot say that of marketing in regard to the fishing industry. In no country has there been any development of a marketing scheme in the fishing industry at all comparable to the elaborate agricultural marketing scheme of Denmark. In fact, we do not know whether there is the same room and opportunity for marketing in the fishing industry as there is in the case of agriculture. Therefore, it was only right that the Sea Fish Commission should have ample opportunity for considering the subject. It is not merely a Commission to report, it has to inquire and then frame a definite marketing scheme. That is a sound reason why a period of time has been given to the Commission to consider the subject.

I agree with the hon. Member when he said that they have toiled all night and caught nothing, that the Government had proved hard-hearted and adamant, but how much easier would the path of my hon. Friend have been in this matter if he had only remembered one further scriptural injunction and cast his net on the right side of the ship. If he had done that I am sure he would have found the Government ready to accept suggestions, and that he too would have obtained such a load of profitable Amendments as we hope British boats in the case of fish will bring hack to our ports. The House will shortly take leave of the second of these Bills, the object of which is to save the great industries of agriculture and fishing. The Bill leaves the House with the hope and the belief that it will effect safety and improvement in the fishing industry. There is no task more necessary for the legislature of a great nation than that it should make prosperous the industries upon which our power to subsist independent of foreign nations depends, and upon which the health, the vigour, bodily, mental and, I believe, spiritual welfare of the whole race of these islands depends.

9.50 p.m.


I do not propose to quote Scripture or even to tell the House that I know a great deal of this subject. The issue simply is this, that this Bill affects the lives of the poor people living in the slums of our great cities, and their argument, to which there has been no reply, was put with a great deal of force by the hon. Member for the Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) on the Second Reading. In that Debate the Minister of Agriculture said that there is an over-supply of fish. The ordinary common people cannot understand it, because they find that there is an under-supply of fish. The Under- Secretary of State has just said that there will be an increased purchasing power and that, therefore, these poor people will get more fish. They cannot see that argument at all. The ordinary poor man is getting less and less fish each year. Years ago it used to play a tremendous part in the lives of ordinary common people, and in Glasgow you found the ordinary fish and chip shop flourishing in every street. There were numbers of them, but to-day they are (inclining, not because the people are wanting less fish, not because of tinned food. There never was a keener desire on the part of poor people to eat fish than there is to-day, but they cannot buy it. You cannot buy fish and chips on 15s. 3d. when a man is working on the means test. To the great mass of the people there is no over-supply of fish but a tremendous under-supply.

I have listened to the Debates and heard the strong case put for a larger mesh and for stopping fishing at certain times of the year, but I have never heard any reply to the point as to why you are restricting the supplies of fish when large numbers of the community are already restricted by reason of poverty. The Bill further restricts supplies, and therefore the price will continue to rise. You make the community which is able to buy fish more select than ever and enable those who control the industry to reap larger profits, at the expense of the many. The large mass of our poor people in the great towns are denied fish by reason of their poverty. Take the constituency of Kelvingrove represented by the Secretary of State for Scotland. I remember the election when almost all the Tories were defeated. My wife asked me the results, and I told her that the Member for Bridgeton was in. She was well pleased. Then she said: "What about Kelvin-grove?" I told her, "Elliot is in," and she said, "I am glad there is one Socialist left in Glasgow." But the other night it was pitiful to see small boys in Kelvin-grove standing in the streets envying those who were able to buy fish. They wanted fish, they needed fish but they were denied it, and yet the Bill proposes to make fish scarcer than ever.

I cannot see any answer to that contention. It was not given on the Second Reading to the hon. Member for the Don Valley. This Bill will be used to restrict further the supplies of this most useful commodity. If fish were over-abundantly supplied, there might be a need for restriction and for giving the men who catch the fish more leisure, but until you can prove that the great mass of the working people have an over-supply of fish for their needs, neither this House nor the Government have a right to restrict supplies. This policy of price-raising and limitation of supplies, coming at the same time as the cutting down of the incomes of the great mass of the people, is a shocking policy. While it

Division No. 267.] AYES. [9.58 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Gower, Sir Robert Muirhead, Major A. J.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Munro, Patrick
Albery, Irving James Graves, Marjorie Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd) Greene, William P. C. North, Edward T.
Applin, Lieut.-Col. Reginald V. K. Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Aske, Sir Robert William Grigg, Sir Edward Penny, Sir George
Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell Grimston, R. V. Perkins, Waiter R. D.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. Petherick, M.
Bateman, A. L. Guy, J. C. Morrison Pike, Cecil F.
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Potter, John
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Hanbury, Cecil Procter, Major Henry Adam
Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman Hanley, Dennis A. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Boulton, W. W. Harbord, Arthur Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenningt'n) Ratcliffe, Arthur
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Heligers, Captain F. F. A. Reid, William Allan (Derby)
Broadbent, Colonel John Herbert, Capt. S. (Abbey Division) Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Rosbotham, Sir Thomas
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hornby, Frank Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y) Horsbrugh, Florence Rugglea-Brise, Colonel E. A.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Howard, Tom Forrest Runge, Norah Cecil
Burnett, John George Howitt, Dr. Allred B. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Hume, Sir George Hopwood Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Cassels, James Dale Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Salmon, Sir Isidore
Christie, James Archibald Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Salt, Edward W.
Clarke, Frank Jennings, Roland Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Clarry, Reginald George Jesson, Major Thomas E. Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Cobb, Sir Cyril Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan) Selley, Harry R.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Jones, Sir G. W. H. (Stoke New'gton) Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Colfox, Major William Philip Ker, J. Campbell Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Conant, R. J. E. Knight, Holford Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Cook, Thomas A. Law, Sir Alfred Skelton, Archibald Noel
Copeland, Ida Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.) Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Craven-Ellis, William Leckie, J. A. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Crooke, J. Smedley Lees-Jones, John Smith, R. W. (Ab'rd'n Kinc'dlne, C.)
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Soper, Richard
Crone, R. H. Lindsay, Noel Ker Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Crossley, A. C. Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Lyons, Abraham Montagu Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Dickle, John P. MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Spent, William Patrick
Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert McConnell, Sir Joseph Stanley Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Dower. Captain A. V. G. Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Stewart, J. H. (Fife, E.)
Duncan, James A. L.(Kensington, N.) McKie, John Hamilton Strauss, Edward A.
Edmondson, Major A. J. McLean, Major Sir Alan Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Elliot, Major Rt. Hon. Walter E. McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Ellis., Sir R. Geoffrey Macguisten, Frederick Alexander Summeraby, Charles H.
Eillidon, Captain George Sampson Magnay, Thomas Sutcliffe, Harold
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Maitland, Adam Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Emrys-Evans. P. V. Manningham-Bulfer, Lt.-Col. Sir M. Thorp, Linton Theodore
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)
Fleming, Edward Lascelles Marsden, Commander Arthur Touche, Gordon Cosmo
Ford, Sir Patrick J. Martin, Thomas B Turton, Robert Hugh
Fraser, Captain Ian Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon
Fremantle, Sir Francis Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Wallace, John (Dunfermline)
Fuller, Captain A. G. Milne, Charles Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Ganzonl, Sir John Moore, Lt.-Col. Thames C. R. (Ayr) Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
Gault, Lieut.-Col, A. Hamilton Horsing, Adrian C. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.) Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Goldie, Noel B. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Wells, Sydney Richard
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Moss, Captain H. J. Weymouth, Viscount

may give the Government greater power for the time being with those from whom they gain their support, to the mass of the people it means greater misery. It is an insidious attack on the wage earner. From that angle the Bill should be rejected, and I associate myself wholeheartedly with the Amendment.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 194; Noes, 48.

Whiteside, Borras Noel H. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Whyte, Jardine Bell Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay) Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount Mr. Womersley and Major Davies.
Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)
Banfield, John William Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Maxton, James
Batey, Joseph Grundy, Thomas W. Milner, Major James
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Hail, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Parkinson, John Allen
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hamilton, Sir R.W. (Orkney & Z'tl'nd) Rathbone, Eleanor
Buchanan, George Harris, Sir Percy Rea, Walter Russell
Cape, Thomas Hicks, Ernest George Salter, Dr. Alfred
Cripps, Sir Stafford Holdsworth, Herbert Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Curry, A. C. Jenkins, Sir William Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Daggar, George Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields) Thorne, William James
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Slivertown) Tinker, John Joseph
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Kirkwood, David Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Dribble, William Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Edwards, Charles Lunn, William Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Evans, David Owen (Cardigan) Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Foot, Dingle (Dundee) McEntee, Valentine L.
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Mainwaring, William Henry TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Mallalleu, Edward Lancelot Mr. John and Mr. Duncan Graham.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.